We Made It!

This morning we set out for St. Augustine for our anniversary vacation. Wednesday will be our third anniversary and we wanted to do something fun this year and "get away." We made pretty good travel time, even with only driving two miles over the official speed limit due to the 13 cars pulled over by state troopers (yes, 13...we actually started keeping track after the fourth). We hit rain (steady rain) right outside of Jacksonville, but we still made it to "The Oldest Florida City" in good time and spirits. Upon checking in at the hotel, we quickly began racking up juicy blog material. Here's what we got to experience the first day of our vacation...

1. We checked in, the reservation was all good, and we took our things up to the room. Ryan went into the bathroom and came out asking if I'd hung up anything on the back of the bathroom door. I hadn't, so I asked why. He said, "Oh, no big reason...other than the fact that there's a pair of boxers hanging on the back of the door." After I verified, I noticed that the bathroom floor also needed mopping and the bathtub wasn't very clean (at least not to my standards). We watched a little TV and tried to figure out what to do. We finally decided to go ahead and grab something to eat and I would call down to the front desk to ask for them to re-clean the bathroom while we were gone. I called, but the girl informed me that all the maids had already left for the night and she was the only one here for the night. She offered us another room, so we happily accepted. We go downstairs, get the new keys, move our luggage to the new room to find it smelling quite strange, the bathroom still not super clean, and neither of the phones working. Grrrrr..... We go BACK down and ask for yet another room. She gives us our third room for the day. I've already decided in my mind that if this one is yucky I'm going to get my "hotel booking notes" and find us another place to stay. We check out the third room and it's fine. The air conditioner is louder than the others, but it's clean so whatever. We're tired of moving all our junk.

2. We then leave and begin the search for a place to eat. We decided to drive around and just look at places in the downtown, historic district and see if anything looked particularly yummy. We had also grabbed A TON of those tourist-y booklets, coupons, and maps for ideas of what to check out. We drive all through the downtown area (while raining), decide to cross the bridge and head over to the beach area, all the while not seeing any actual restaurants. The beach didn't prove to be much better, with one restaurant's advertisement stating its location to be "somewhere on A1A". Seriously? Seriously. This is what our trips are always like. FINALLY, we see an Italian place and decide it'll do. First, a u-turn is required to get back to the restaurant. Then, it's discovered that there isn't a break in the median to make the needed left-hand turn. We turn left at the light, and make a u-turn after what feels like a half-mile travel. We get to the restaurant and realize that there's no driveway from the road we're on. We then turn right at the light and finally find a driveway that will provide access to the stinkin' place and quickly turn in only to find approximately eight parking spaces. What the heck? We park in the last space available and run ('cause it's raining) to the door. It's locked. Apparently we parked at the back of the restaurant and are trying to open the back door. We run ('CAUSE IT'S RAINING) around to the front and finally make it inside. We order a pizza, eat it, and sit back and wait. We wait because our waiter (whom we believe to recently have completed training) has forgotten about us. Ryan had wanted to order a taramisu dessert, but by the time the waiter comes back to check on us, we're over it and just want the check. Oh, and everytime this guy came to the table, we were addressed as "everybody"..."is everybody all right?" "Thanks everybody." "Everybody have a good night."

3. I'm going to title (if I'm in fact titling these) this adventure "The Quest for the Umbrella...a Rock Opera in Three Acts". Since it was raining throughout most of our adventurous afternoon/evening, we decided it was probably a good idea to find an umbrella...since we were idiots and didn't bring one of our eight umbrellas from home. Once back on the non-beach side of town, we drove all the way back up US1 to the air strip and couldn't find any type of place selling umbrellas. Decided to turn around. At this point, we're on u-turn number 4. We then travel west toward the outlets (crossing I95), and although we see lots of outlets and other stores, no Wal-Mart, no Target, and certainly no Sam's. Our spirits are starting to dwindle so we turn around (number 5) and head back toward town. I finally decided to stop at a gas station and ask if they actually have a walmart (we looked it up on the gps, but couldn't find a listing for one). I ask the gas station employee if there's a walmart anywhere nearby. He says, "Ummmmmmm.........no. The closest one is 12 miles away." ....... I ask, "Um, okay. Which way would that be?" He gives me pretty simple directions, I say thanks, and run back to the car (because, you guessed it...it's raining). We decide that since we've got all this time (and gas) invested we're going to go for the gusto and go to the walmart. Said walmart is finally found, we walk the entire store looking for umbrellas (the big ones) and only find a $28 model in the golf section. We head back to the car determining that the "Friday night Walmart theory" must be location universal and not just a Panama City thing. We head to Target, walk the whole store, find a very helpful employee (not kidding...she was great), and find a golf umbrella for $17.99. It's more than what I want to pay, but at this point Ryan doesn't even comment. He just grabs it and walks to the checkout line (because they're closing...turning-off-the lights-closing). We pay for our $20 umbrella, proud of our victory and walk to the car (because it's now quit raining).

So...if you ever want the adventure of a lifetime, just take a trip with us. Even though it's Day 1, we've already had more adventure than a simple Pepsi can handle. Seriously, if it weren't for laughter, we'd be two loons right now.

More to come later...as I'm sure there'll be more to post of our crazy adventures in Ryan and Kelley Land.

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